Podcast Episode 11: “Just 12 Spoons of Sugar” with Elisabeth Donaldson

Photo Credit: Marlith, Wikimedia

Can we really rid the world of hunger and malnutrition in under a decade? The Nourishing Millions podcast series, undertaken in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Public Health, features the latest groundbreaking thinking about nutrition from top policymakers, researchers, and practitioners. Together, the episodes tell the story of how small and large movements—and everyday people—can help us achieve a food- and nutrition-secure world.

On this week’s episode: In January of 2013, Mexico passed what soda giants called “the tax on chubby people:” an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. By adding one peso per liter to the cost of sugar-sweetened beverages--soda, namely-- public health and policy advocates alike intended to halt the country’s obesity epidemic while providing a mechanism to fund public health initiatives. In this episode, we talk with Elisabeth Donaldson, a Social Scientist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who as a doctoral student investigated the factors leading up to this tax and the perfect storm surrounding its success. We discuss the challenges of tackling beverages ingrained in cultural ceremonies and seen as a status symbol, and how other countries can learn from Mexico’s fight against obesity.

Listen to the episode on SoundCloud or iTunes.

Note: Dr. Donaldson’s views do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Tobacco Products, the Food and Drug Administration, or the U.S. Government. Her work on the Mexico soda tax was in her personal capacity when she was a doctoral student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Previous episodes of the podcast series are also available:

Episode 1. "Grasshopper a la Mode" with Jacob Anankware: SoundCloud or iTunes.

Episode 2. "From the Farm to the Schoolhouse" with Catherine Bertini: Soundcloud or iTunes

Episode 3. "The Private Sector Puzzle" with Lawrence Haddad: Soundcloud or iTunes

Episode 4. "Can Nutrition Beat the Heat?" with Sam Myers: SoundCloud or iTunes

Episode 5. "A Million House Calls" with Regine Kopplow and Meghan Anson: SoundCloud or iTunes

Episode 6. "Rise of the Dragon" with Shenggen Fan: SoundCloud or iTunes

Episode 7. “On to the Road to 1 Billion” with Howdy Bouis: SoundCloud or iTunes

Episode 8. "Supersizing Big Ag" with Danielle Nierenberg: SoundCloud or iTunes

Episode 9. "Where Things Won't Grow" with Corey Ellis: SoundCloud or iTunes

Episode 10. "Does Money Really Talk?" with Akhter Ahmed: SoundCloud or iTunes


Blog Post by: Natalie Manitius


Copyright © 2015 International Food Policy Research Institute e-mail: IFPRI-NourishingMillions@cgiar.org